Tuscaloosa (Alabama)

Tuscaloosa is the home of the almost 200-year-old University of Alabama, which has made a name for itself as a top sporting college in recent years. This is largely due to the success of the Crimson Tides, the university football team, which has won the national title more than ten times. With a stadium that can seat more than 100,000 supporters, it can get pretty busy here on match days …

But Tuscaloosa offers much more than sport. The University of Alabama also has its place in the history of the American civil rights movement. In 1956, Autherine Lucy was the first Afro-American student to enroll at the still all-white university. She eventually only stayed for three days, as her fellow students jeered at her and pelted her with eggs. The University board decided that Lucy herself was the cause of all the commotion and she was the one that had to leave…

A second, more successful step in the desegregation of the University of Alabama followed in 1963. When Vivian Malone and James Hood arrived to enroll, they found Alabama Governor George Wallace blocking the door to personally prevent them from entering. But Wallace had not counted on President Kennedy, who sent the National Guard to ensure that the two Afro-American students could enter the Foster Auditorium. Governor Wallace was forced to resign.

Het Foster Auditorium

An all-too-often forgotten moment in the turbulent history of the American civil rights movement is ‘Bloody Tuesday’, which took place in Tuscaloosa on 8 June 1964. Shortly before, Martin Luther King had sent a member of his staff to the town to coordinate the protests. On 8 June, a group of protestors gathered at the First African Baptist Church for a peaceful march, but before they could leave the police attacked the church. This was the first time the police had entered a church to break up a protest. The best place to find out more about Bloody Tuesday is Howard’s and Linton Barber Shop, where barber, preacher and civil rights activist Thomas Linton, can show you pictures, newspaper cuttings and other memorabilia from those tumultuous times in Tuscaloosa.

For more information, check out: www.visittuscaloosa.com

Howard’s and Linton Barber Shop